Blackjack Insurance

By Alex Smith, Last updated Nov 3, 2022

In life, we usually take out insurance to help mitigate against the potential financial impact of something terrible happening. For example, many of us will have health insurance, car insurance, and homeowner’s insurance. However, did you know that insurance can also be purchased in Blackjack? That’s right; insurance betting is a thing in Blackjack.

On this page, we will be taking a look at what Blackjack insurance is, how it works – and whether you should use it yourself when playing the casino game.

What is Insurance Betting?

Once all the cards have been dealt at the Blackjack table, players get to choose whether to hit or stand. However, if there is a chance of the dealer making Blackjack (i.e., if the dealer shows an Ace( then you have the chance to put down an insurance side bet. This is, essentially, a separate bet, and it’s offered at almost all Blackjack tables. It usually costs half of your initial bet, and if it’s a winning bet, it will pay out at 2:1 if the dealer makes a Blackjack.

For example, if you placed a $100 bet on the primary wager, and the dealer’s up card is an ace, you would be able to take the insurance side bets for $50. If the dealer hit Blackjack, you would lose your initial bet but win the insurance in Blackjack’s side bet. This means you would be paid $100 – the same amount as the initial bet you placed at the table.

However, if you play Blackjack and choose to place the side bet and the dealer DOESN’T have Blackjack, you will lose the side bet. Your primary wager, however, will continue to run, and the rest of the hand plays out as usual.

Should I Place a Blackjack Insurance Bet?

While most forms of insurance in life are worth it, Blackjack insurance probably isn’t. Sure, if you’re playing a few hands of Blackjack on a single night, taking out online Blackjack insurance may be beneficial. However, if you look at the house edge and basic strategy, there are very few hands where Blackjack insurance is advised in the long run. And the basic strategy shows that Blackjack insurance will actually cost you money in the long run.

It can be tempting – and most online casinos now let you place a Blackjack insurance bet. However, just remember that if a bet is offered at an online or a land-based casino, it means it’s because the casino is profiting from it. As a general rule of thumb, you should avoid side bets- including insurance in Blackjack.

FAQs

Does a dealer Blackjack pay me?

If you are playing Blackjack and the dealer’s hand shows an ace face-up, you will usually be given the chance to place an insurance bet. This is a side bet, and if the dealer’s hand ends up making a Blackjack, you will be paid out on your insurance bet if you’ve chosen to place it.

With some very rare exceptions, all insurance bet wagers pay out at 2:1. So if your main hand was a $10 bet and you wanted to place an insurance bet, that bet would need to be $5. If the dealer got Blackjack, you would be paid out at 2:1, receiving $10.

Is insurance a side bet?

Technically, the insurance bet is NOT a side bet. When you take insurance in Blackjack, you do so once the hand has already been dealt. You can only add it to your main bet if the dealer shows an ace face-up. To be classed as a side bet, a wager must be placed before the hand has been dealt. Side bets you may be familiar with include Perfect Pairs and 21+3.

How much does insurance cost?

Regardless of the online or land-based casino you are playing Blackjack at, the price of the Insurance bet will always be the same. There are very few exceptions to this rule, but they are rare. Contrary to what you might think, insurance bets don’t cost money. They cannot be placed if the dealer’s upcard isn’t an ace. You see, insurance works on the basis that the dealer must show an ace.

If this is the case, you can place an additional insurance bet before they draw their second card. This costs half the amount of your main bet. So, if you placed a $200 bet and wanted to take insurance, the insurance wager would cost you $100.

Is Blackjack insurance worth it?

While some Blackjack players will recommend taking insurance whenever you can (including when the dealer’s upcard is a picture card), generally speaking, you should not take insurance – regardless of what the dealer’s initial hand is. The only time you should take insurance is when you have an Ace yourself. However, even then, not all Blackjack strategy guides recommend doing so.

Experienced Blackjack players tend to prefer not to buy insurance for various reasons. However, if your original bet is really big and you want to take insurance on a one-off basis, it’s not the end of the world.

How much does a Blackjack insurance bet pay?

With a few rare exceptions, the insurance bet always pays out at 2:1 when it’s a winning bet. If you hold a good hand before you take insurance, you should not generally take it, as it’s impossible to win both bets at once.

Please note that other side bets are usually unaffected by the result of the insurance bet. However, your primary betting wager is affected, so keep this minimum deposit.

Do all Blackjack tables offer insurance?

If you are considering taking insurance, you will be happy to learn that most online and land-based casinos offer the insurance side bet. However, even with a deck rich in aces and picture cards, you should avoid taking insurance. Sure, if the dealer’s second card turns out to be a picture card, you will end up winning 2:1 – but most of the time, the dealer won’t hit Blackjack, and you will lose the bet.

Generally speaking, land-based casinos will allow you to take insurance only when the dealer shows an ace. Online casinos, however, will often allow you to take insurance even when the dealer just shows a picture card. Of course, this is recommended even less, as the house edge increases a LOT!

Does the dealer have to show an ace for me to take insurance?

This depends entirely on the casino you are playing at. Some online and land-based casinos will allow you to take insurance if the dealer shows an ace OR a picture card. Other establishments will only let you take insurance if the dealer shows any picture card. Please note that online casinos licensed by the Malta Gaming Authority must allow insurance in certain circumstances.

What does basic strategy mean?

A basic strategy is a set of mathematical rules you should follow when playing blackjack. They are designed to minimize the house edge and improve your chances of winning as much as possible. In fact, when you follow the basic strategy correctly, it’s possible to reduce the house edge to less than 1%.

However, please note that even this strategy doesn’t guarantee you’ll win. These strategies are designed for use in the long term. They are very effective in reducing the house edge in the long run, but in the short term, you are unlikely to notice much of an impact on your gameplay and results.

What is insurance?

Once all the cards have been dealt at the Blackjack table, players get to choose whether to hit or stand. However, if the dealer makes Blackjack (i.e., if the dealer shows an Ace), you have the chance to put down an insurance side bet. This is, essentially, a separate bet, and it’s offered at almost all Blackjack tables. It usually costs half of your initial bet, and if it’s a winning bet, it will pay out at 2:1 if the dealer makes a Blackjack.

What other Blackjack side bets are there?

One of the most popular side bets you’ll find offered at pretty much every Blackjack table is Perfect Pairs. It’s an optional side bet that awards you a payout if your first two cards are the same value. Usually, you will be paid out at 5:1 if your two cards are the same suit but different colors, 10:1 if they’re the same suit and exact color, and 35:1 if the cards are identical. Due to the nature of this bet, it is only offered on Blackjack games that use more than one deck; usually, Perfect Pairs is offered on tables where six or eight decks of cards are used.

Unfortunately, the house edge of the Perfect Pairs wager is even worse than insurance. It can be as high as 15%! This makes it a very poor bet for you to place – although it can be fun to have a punt on it every now and again. Other side bets you might see include 21+3 and progressive jackpot Blackjack.

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